Amber Heard Says She's Settled Defamation Case Against Johnny Depp: 'I Never Chose This'

'This is not an act of concession,' the actress says in a statement posted to Instagram.

Amber Heard has settled her defamation lawsuit with her ex-husband, Johnny Depp

In response to the settlement, Depp's attorneys, Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez, released a statement to ET, which reads, "We are pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who made clear throughout this process that his priority was about bringing the truth to light. The jury's unanimous decision and the resulting judgement in Mr. Depp's favor against Ms. Heard remain fully in place. The payment of $1 million -- which Mr. Depp is pledging and will (actually) donate to charities - reinforces Ms. Heard's acknowledgement of the conclusion of the legal system's rigorous pursuit for justice."

On Monday, the 36-year-old actress posted a statement of her own to Instagram, saying "my life as I knew it was destroyed" amid her legal battle with Depp.

"After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex-husband in Virginia," Heard writes. "It's important for me to say that I never chose this. I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimized when they come forward. Now I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to."

The Aquaman actress continues, "I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward."

Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard in March 2019 after the Washington Post published an op-ed she wrote about being the victim of domestic violence. Depp's name was not mentioned in the article, however, the story came out as their contentious 2016 divorce continued to make news headlines.

After weeks of back-and-forth in the courtroom, the jury ultimately sided with Depp in June, and the 59-year-old actor was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages, however, were later reduced to $350,000 in accordance with the state's statutory cap.

While Depp won the defamation trial against his ex-wife in sweeping fashion, the same jury that awarded Depp that victory also found he was liable, citing comments previously made by Depp's lawyer, Adam Waldman, in which he referred to Heard's claims as a "hoax." That counterclaim awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages.

In her recent statement, Heard also references the 2020 trial in the United Kingdom, in which a court ruled that The Sun was justified in its use of the phrase "wife beater" in a 2018 article about Depp's relationship with Heard.

"When I stood before a judge in the U.K., I was vindicated by a robust, impartial and fair system, where I was protected from having to give the worst moments of my testimony in front of the world’s media, and where the court found that I was subjected to domestic and sexual violence," she writes. "In the U.S., however, I exhausted almost all my resources in advance of and during a trial in which I was subjected to a courtroom that in which abundant, direct evidence that corroborated my testimony was excluded and in which popularity and power mattered more than reason and due process. In the interim I was exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot relive. Even if my US appeal is successful, the best outcome would be a retrial where a new jury would have to consider the evidence again. I simply cannot go through that for a third time."

Further stating her reasons for settling the case, Heard continues, "In settling this case I am also choosing the freedom to dedicate my time to the work that helped me heal after my divorce; work that exists in realms in which I feel seen, heard and believed, and in which I know I can effect change. I will not be threatened, disheartened or dissuaded by what happened from speaking the truth. No one can and no one will take that from me. My voice forever remains the most valuable asset I have."

Heard concludes her statement with a message of gratitude to her legal team and supporters as well as encouragement to anyone suffering from domestic abuse. 

"I’d like to thank my outstanding appellate and original trial teams for their relentless hard work. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and turn my attention to the growing support that I’ve felt and seen publicly in the months since trial, and the efforts that have been made to show solidarity with my story," she writes. "Any survivor knows that the ability to tell their story often feels like the only relief, and I cannot find enough words to tell you the hope your belief in me inspires, not just for me, but for all of you."

The couple had been married for two years before divorcing in 2017. ET has reached out to Heard's legal team regarding the settlement.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. 



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